January 30, 2009

QUITE yet fascinating FLORENCE

I WAS standing on Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence (Italy). And doing what – singing a song in Chhattisgarhi dialect. It was a dream that I had last night.Vague! Absurd! Why did I see such a dream – I spoke to myself.
Later I realized an old friend of mine from my hometown - Raipur (Chhattisgarh) called me up the other day to inquire about visiting Florence. He wanted to record some visuals in Florence for his new Chhattisgarhi music album.
I spent quite a few days in Florence in October 2007. I wrote a lot about Florence and more I write more inquisitive I become.
There is poem by William Wordsworth which reminds of Florence:Earth has not anything to show more fair:

Dull would he be of soul who could pass byA sight so touching in its majesty:This City now doth, like a garment wearThe beauty of the morning; silent, bare,Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lieOpen unto the fields, and to the sky;All bright and glittering in the smokeless air।Never did sun more beautifully steepIn his first splendor valley, rock, or hill;Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!The river glideth at his own sweet will।Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;And all that mighty heart is lying still!

I am not writing much on visiting Florence but would love to upload some photos I clicked while walking through the streets of this city, which is not as exciting as Rome or Venice but this capital of Tuscany region has something to offer to those travelers who love the essence of old cities। And mind you the maestro – Leonardo Di Vinci spent lot of time here and eventually went on to paint his all time masterpieces MONA LISA।Micheal Angelo’s David is also in Florence.

January 28, 2009

Swami Ramdev Baba : SIZE ZERO

GETTING UP at 4 am on a chilly day has never been my cup of tea. But instructions from my top boss to go and meet India's one of the top celebrity Yoga gurus and interview him for our group of channels – made me break my tradition of not waking up before the sunrise.

BABA RAMDEV - clad from head to foot in orange robes, his early morning television show pulls in 20 million viewers in India alone, and there are the usual video and summer camp spin-offs, as well as the more unusual ones, like yoga cruises.
He is in Hyderabad for a week-long session. And on Wednesday morning (January 28, 2009) - I made my way to his camp and waited for him to conclude his 3-hour session.
The moment he got down from the podium – I posed my first question – "Bollywood and Size Zero – what is your take on it,"- Unusual question at a very unusual time – but this gentleman is known to speak on any issue under the sun.
"Size zero is not healthy," pop came the response from the Swamiji. Giving up food to attain a sexy figure is not advisable, he said and added that such figure could be accomplished through yoga. There are various methods in yoga by which one can get the much-publicized 'SIZE ZERO', Baba Ramdev said. Pranayam, Kapal bhati, lom vilom can help one achieve the desired figure, the yoga guru specified.
Swamiji is also known to have many friends in Bollywood. His favourites are Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and Akshay Kumar to name some. He revealed these names with his convention élan and also added that they all are his yoga lovers.
Baba Ramdev also spoke on politicians and their fitness and cricketers…THAT I will mention in another write up. Right now I want to keep this piece on SIZE ZERO only.
SO babes – if you want to try attaining size zero please do heed to BABA's advice….YOGA ....with loads of meditation and a glass full of LAUKI (bottle gourd ) juice every morning.
# Size zero, commonly used to refer to people with very low body mass index, refers to a clothing size in U.S. brands.
#A woman with waist size 23 inches, hip size 32 inches and bust around 31 inches would qualify to be called size zero.
#Crash diets to achieve size zero can have repercussions on your health -- from heart attacks to renal failures.
#Uruguay model Luisel Ramos sparked off the debate on size zero. Soon after stepping down from the ramp after a fashion show in 2006, she was found dead following a heart attack. International fashion shows then stayed away from models with BMIs less than 18, an unhealthy number as per the guidelines of World Health Organisation.
#In India, though a number of models fit into the slender category, many have been successful without having to be reed thin. Sisters Tapur and Tupur, modelturned- actors Koena Mitra and Katrina Kaif fit the bill.

January 24, 2009

The Thrill Ride

If the thrill of riding in a metal cabin with no doors, no seat belts and no airbags on treacherous Indian roads doesn't scare you, then the auto-wallah's driving skills definitely will! Riding an auto rickshaw is a bit like riding a roller coaster except you stay firmly on the ground with no definite track

Last afternoon I took an auto rickshaw to office. It was completely a new experience for me as I don’t remember when the last time I had the experience to board an auto rickshaw.

I still remember my niece once described auto rickshaw as a notorious metal shell, on 3 wheels much like a scooter with three wheels with a motor that sounds like a western lawn mower! - The Auto Rickshaw.

Even though auto rickshaws are said have a top-speed of around 50 km/h (about 31 mph), it definitely doesn't seem like it and I doubt it's true especially when you’re zipping past cars and bikes at much higher speeds leaving them in a cloud of smoke. You can sometimes feel the G-forces pulling you as the auto-wallah makes a tight turn. They're driven the way you would a bumper car at a carnival.They zig-zag and weave through traffic unafraid of bigger vehicles or pedestrians and are notorious for playing chicken by driving on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic. And just when you think it couldn't get any worse, if the gap between two cars or buses in front of you is seemingly impossible to fit into...think again! The auto wallah will surprise you by daringly maneuvering their rickshaw into the tightest imaginable spaces in traffic. So much so that you can literally touch the vehicle beside you by sticking out a finger!For people in Hyderabad and other cities of India, these monsters on the road are more like anybody's daily affair. People from abroad see them as a cute, loving vehicle on the road. Foreigners don't forget to take a ride on them while visiting the rustic side of this country.

Anyways, after 30 minutes of scary ride I managed to reach destination in one piece. Don’t know when I would dare to board the auto for another thrill ride of my life…….